Because of his ‘tale’ Jack was considered to be a dangerous subversive and a direct threat to the stability of the Republic. No sooner had he been captured than the Town Assembly swiftly voted to hang him and deliver his cold head on a platter to the Commissariat as a gift on Revolution Day.
Until the deed could be done Jack was delivered into the care of my Pa.
Pa had always been the town jailer. Because of this he could quite easily have been considered a class traitor himself. He was a vicious old bastard and it was common knowledge amongst the townsfolk that, in the Duke’s day, his greatest pleasure had been beating his wards. There was hardly a prisoner who passed through his care who didn’t stand before the county judge comprehensively battered and bloodied by Pa’s callous hands.
But when the Grand Old Duke ruled this part of the Marchen nobody ever brought Pa to book for his handiwork. He was simply doing the Duke’s bidding and was therefore above any form of formal reprimand or censure. You see, in the bad old days before our glorious revolution, the stream and the forest, and everything in them, belonged to the Duke’s estate. If you took a fish for your supper or even picked up a few sticks for your fire, you had to pay for the misdemeanor. It went without saying that part of that payment was to be thrashed to within an inch of your life by Horst the Jailer.
Then, one by one, in the fiefdoms of the Marchen, the downtrodden masses rose up behind Tell Eulenspiegel, champion of the poor. At last the Grand Old Duke was sent packing - as were all of the other aristocratic cohorts of the morally corrupt monarchy.
A new and enlightened dawn broke over the Marchen. Under the guidance of Comrade Eulenspiegel and People’s Commissariat a pronouncement was made that private property was theft. Therefore, so long as it was done for the common good, it was perfectly legitimate to tickle trout out of the stream and gather sticks in the forest.
Full bellies and well-stocked fires all round for the common folk.
You’d have thought that this turn of events might have brought Pa’s career to an abrupt end. No such luck. Within our newly liberated Republic there were crimes of an entirely different nature. Under the patronage of the Commissariat almost anyone was at risk of being denounced by a fellow comrade citizen as a reprobate or degenerate who did nothing at all for the greater good. Enemy of the people, traitor to the cause, running dog of the clandestine royalist counter-insurgency - these were just a few of accusations that might get you arrested.
In the circumstances the town needed a jailhouse more than ever. It followed then that there also needed to be jailer to guard the class traitors incarcerated there. Nobody really wanted Pa’s old job. So, in spite of his previous loyal affiliation to the Duke’s despotic tyranny, he was quietly allowed to carry as if nothing at all had changed.
And because the felons now condemned to his care were generally considered to be lower than the lowest crawling cockroach, and dirtier than dog dirt that sticks to your shoe, it was considered fitting for Pa to beat on them as hard, if not harder, as he’d previously been given to beating on poachers and firewood thieves. No one would bring him to book. After all, whatever he did was now in the name of Comrade Eulenspiegel and the glorious revolution.
Pa found this quite amusing.
In the town alehouse he’d hold up his jug to the heroic portrait of our Great Comrade, now hanging behind the bar in the space departed by the oil painting of the Grand Old Duke. “To the new boss,” he’d toast, grinning a big cheesy grin. “Same as the old boss.”
Duke or no Duke Pa’s life went on as normal.
And so did mine.
Despite the revolution I was as bad off as I had ever been. My poor Ma had died giving birth to me and Pa hated me for that. It was all my fault, as Pa constantly reminded me - getting born in that bad way, making Ma push so hard that her poor, delicate heart gave out. According to his way of thinking I’d as good a murdered her.
Pa gave me a list of menial tasks at the jailhouse that he wasn’t personally keen on doing himself - slopping out the battered old excrement pails, scrubbing splatters of dried blood, caked on the filthy floors, turning the sagging, lice-infested mattresses over on the rusty bunks. Pa was a hard taskmaster – a punch to motivate, a kick to reprimand.
But I could do nothing to please him and he dished out retribution with a sadistic relish. Sometime with his ham-sized fists, sometimes with the buckle on his wide leather belt, more often than not with the fat, gnarled stick that sat forever ready by his fireside. Never a day passed without me nursing a bruise, or a shiner, or a cauliflower ear.
I learned quickly to absorb the pain and hold back my tears.
On Jack’s first night in the jailhouse I was sent by Pa to fetch what was to pass for his supper. “Is it true that you’re a liar?” I asked him when I pushed the bread crust and mug of sour goat’s milk under the bars of his cell.
There was some yellow bruising under his left eye and a little crusted cut on the bridge of his nose. The militia had given him a bit of a working over when they’d ambushed him. They were an assortment of farmers, shopkeepers and blacksmiths who donned red militia armbands on a fortnightly roster - so the beating they gave him seemed half-hearted and nowhere near as thorough as it might have been had Pa been personally involved.
Jack took a sip of the goat’s milk and baulked at the taste.
“The way you’ve couched that question makes it impossible answer in a satisfactory manner,” he said. “If I say no I might actually be lying to cover up the fact that I am a liar. On the other hand if I say yes I would clearly be admitting to being a liar. So how would you know for sure that I was telling the truth?”
He had a smart mouth, this Jack.
Pa wouldn’t like that.
Having a smart mouth would earn Jack a beating.
“The Assembly denounced you as a liar and a cheat,” I said.
“Whoever heard of someone being tried by an Assembly?” Jack shook his head. “The whole thing’s preposterous. Where’s the justice in that?”
“It’s a whole lot fairer than it would have been in the Grand Old Duke’s day,” I told him. “Back then there was no such thing as justice for ordinary folk.”
I had learned this on one of the days that Pa let me go to school. The Commissariat was very keen that we should understand the historical context of the revolution and the depth of the corruption that rotted the old monarchist regimes from the inside out.
“You may have a point there,” conceded Jack, nibbling tentatively at one of the bread crusts.
“They say you cheated good people out of their hard earned money by playing on their fears and getting them to pay you for protecting them against imaginary things.” This was a direct quote from the text of the deliberations of the Assembly that had been pinned up in the town square. I’d memorized it line by line.
“What’s your name?” he asked me.
“Henry,” I told him.
“Well, Henry,” said Jack. “I was once regarded as a hero. I was the people’s champion long before Tell Eulenspiegel came on the scene. Don’t you think that it’s an insult for me to be treated like this? I didn’t even have a fair trial.”
“The Assembly is elected by the people and accountable to the people,” I said.
“The people are easily fooled,” he sneered.
“Like making them believe you can bring down giants when no such things exist?” I shot back at him.
“Who says that giants don’t exist?” he asked.
“Do they?” I asked him back.
“They might,” he replied.
Pa would spend every night at the local alehouse. He claimed that strong ale helped him blot out the memory of what had happened to Ma. He expected his supper to be ready and waiting as soon as he staggered through the door. Whatever time that might be.
That night, as the stew was simmering on the range, I fell asleep in front of the fire. All day my head had been filled with the wild notion that there might actually be such things as giants. Despite what the Commissariat had to say about the crass superstition engendered amongst the masses by the monarchist regime, my dreams were filled with gargantuan men and women, armed with clubs and axes, towering over towns and villages as they trampled through the countryside. I dreamed of Jack bringing them down with wile and guile, just as in his outlawed ‘tale’.
Pa came home just after midnight.
I snapped awake when I heard the front door slam. The smell of the charred meat hit me straight away. I jumped to my feet, grabbed a cloth, and snatched the smoking pot from the stove.
“What’s going on?” demanded Pa, swaying in a boozy fug by the kitchen doorway.
“Sorry,” I said, coughing against the acrid stream of smoke that engulfed my face.
“Sorry?” sneered Pa, drooling stringy saliva over his chin. “You will be!”
He stumbled into the kitchen and lurched towards me.
I dropped the pot to the floor. Bits of blackened stew splattered his boots.
“Idiot boy!” he roared.
He towered over me, eyes bulging with rage. As I cowered before him he grabbed his gnarled old stick from the side the fireplace. Its sudden impact against the side of my head sent a burst of white light exploding before my eyes. I fell back and hit the floor, barely managing to hold on to consciousness.
“Teach you to burn my supper.”
Pa stepped coldly over me and staggered off to collapse drunkenly onto his bed.
“Snap!” said Jack when I brought him his watery porridge the next morning.
He too had a fresh black bruise around his eye.
I slid the porridge bowl under the bars.
“Your father paid me a visit on his way home last night,” he said.
Instinctively I reached up and touched the inflamed area just below my own left eye.
“Do you want to know how to slay a giant?” Jack asked me.
The bristles on his chin had grown darker overnight. He would have a full beard before long. I had seen it all before. The weight would start to drop off him. Gradually he would become a different person as Pa systematically beat the will to live out of him. By the time they tied the noose around his neck Jack the Liar would be a broken man.
“I’ve got no time for your lies and nonsense,” I snapped at him.
Jack’s chains chinked together as he lifted a spoonful of porridge to his lips.”
“Who’s to say they are lies?” he asked.
“Comrade Eulenspiegel says that the monarchy made up ‘tales’ to take people’s minds off how bad things really were,” I replied.
“And that makes it so, does it?” challenged Jack. “Perhaps the great Tell has his own reasons for taking people’s minds off things.”
“There are no such things as giants,” I insisted.
“That is debatable,” said Jack, forcing another portion of porridge into his mouth. “Giants are bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes, Henry.”
Instantly my hand went up to my wounded eye again.
Soon Pa would be arriving for work, settling himself behind the table in his little private room, cracking his ugly knuckles in anticipation that he might get do some more handiwork on his prisoner’s face. I turned my back on the cell and finished sweeping the floor. Jabber on, Jack, I thought to myself. You’ll be dead soon enough.
But Jack’s words plagued me. Like the persistent itch left behind by a gnat’s bite they repeated over and over inside my head. “Giants are bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes.”
Later that morning, when Pa went to the courthouse to collect Jack’s paperwork, I crept back down to the cells. Jack was seated with his back to the wall. I touched the iron bars.
“What kind of weapons do giants use then?” I asked.
His head turned to me. The eye that my father had blackened remained half shut. He regarded me with the other. “I thought that you didn’t believe in such things?”
I shrugged my shoulders and made to turn for the stairs.
“If you don’t want to tell me…”
“Giants are big and dumb,” he called out. “Anyone with half an ounce of brain can outsmart them. But they’re dangerous and destructive. They lash out. They don’t care who they hurt. It takes brains to bring them down.”
The dull pulse in my injured eye throbbed heavily.
“Are there really giants then?” I asked, returning to hover by the bars of the cell.
He winked at me with his good eye.
“A few years back everybody believed in giants,” he said. “That suited certain people, Henry. It was convenient to blame giants for all sorts of ills.”
“Like what?” I asked, unable to resist the enticing lure of his voice.
“Imagine there’s this King,” he said.
“Or a Duke if you like,” said Jack. “He’s a powerful person. Everything around for as far as the eye can see belongs to him. When he says jump, people ask how high. They bow and grovel to him because they think he’s smart. He must be to have all this power and land, right?”
I gave a cautious nod of my head.
“I suppose so.”
“Then things start to go wrong,” Jack continued. “Crops get trampled in the night. Cattle go missing. Barn roofs get torn off and turn up miles away. So the people go to this Duke and, since he’ so damned smart, they expect him to know exactly what is going on.”
“And does he?” I asked.
“At first he’s a bit taken aback. He doesn’t know what to say. But then he sees the doubt creeping into people’s eyes. How come he doesn’t know? Isn’t he supposed to be the smart one round here? So he just comes right out and says the first thing that pops into his head.”
“A giant?” I interjected.
“Got it in one, Henry. He tells them it’s a giant wandering in the night. Trampling their crops. Stealing their cattle. Tearing the roofs off their barns.”
I pressed my face closer to the bars.
“But then everybody starts demanding that something should be done about the giant,” said Jack. “And since this Duke is apparently so powerful it’s all down to him.”
I could feel the cold iron of the bars pressing against my cheeks as leaned in as close as I could. “So he calls on you?” I said.
“I’ll hire the services of a professional giant killer, announces the Duke. But to pay his fee I’ll have to raise a special tax. And, of course, the people are more than happy to agree to this - so long as they are rid of the pest.”
“And then you come along and kill the giant?”
“That’s what they pay me for,” said Jack.
I stepped back from the bars.
“From the tax money?”
Jack nodded his head once more.
“So it’s true what the Assembly said about you taking ordinary people’s hard earned money from them?”
“I was paid my fee,” conceded Jack. “But it was nowhere near as much as the Duke managed to squirrel away for himself.”
Jack’s qualification made it sound to me as if he was wriggling out of his part in the deception. “But there wasn’t a giant,” I protested. “The Duke tricked the people out of their money and you took a cut.”
“Who says there wasn’t a giant?” asked Jack.
“The Duke just came up with the first thing that popped into his head,” I reminded him.
“But who’s to say that he didn’t make a lucky guess?” replied Jack.
The sound of Pa yelling down the stairwell made me jump.
“Henry? Where are you? My feet are aching. I need you to help me out of my boots. Get here now or you’ll feel the back of my hand!”
Without a second glance at Jack I ran for the stairs.
That night I took great care to stay awake, to put just the right amount of salt and pepper into the stew, to take the pot off the boil before everything became over cooked. As I worked I was constantly churning over in my mind the possibility that there might be giants and Jack was therefore an innocent man - wrongly denounced as a class traitor.
As Jack had said - who was to say that such things didn’t exist?
Pa came home from the alehouse, reeking of booze, unsteady on his feet, clearly angling for some sort of confrontation. The meal I laid before him wasn’t to his satisfaction. This time he didn’t beat me straight off. He knew that he could wound me just as deeply with cruel words as he could with his big fists.
“What’s this pile of horse shit?” he asked, poking his spoon around in the meat. He shoveled some up and chewed loudly and messily, dribbling gravy over his whiskers. Then he spat what was in his mouth out onto the floor.
“Horse shit!” he yelled at me. “Cow dung!”
He picked up the plate and hurled it across the room. I ducked swiftly down. The plate sailed over my head and smashed against the back wall. Lumps of beef and carrot slid down the dirty white tiles.
“Clean that mess up!” he ranted. “If your mother was alive she would have made a decent meal for hard working man like me to come home to. But she’s not here, is she, Henry? She’s not here. And you are. You, the sniveling little disease that that grew like a poison in the belly of my beautiful bride.”
Tears rolled down my face as I picked up a cloth and started to wipe the mess from the wall.
“Stop prattling around with that cloth,” yelled Pa. “Fix me something else to eat right now!”
My back went stiff. The blood rushed to my head. I could tell that he was deliberately pushing me to the edge, goading me to react. I had to bite down hard my tongue in case I said something that might make him reach for his stick.
While the scaffold that would hold Jack’s gallows was steadily being constructed in the Town Square I pestered him daily about the existence of giants. His answers were always ambiguous and obscure. He spoke in riddles and drove me to distraction with his evasiveness.
“Do giants truly exist?” I’d ask him.
“That’s a big question,” he’d answer.
I’d try to pin him down.
“Just tell me plain. Are there giants? Yes or no?”
“There might be,” was all he’d say.
Most of the time one or other of us would be nursing abrasions or injuries inflicted by Pa’s cruel hands. Every now and then our wounds would match in terrible symmetry - a split lip one day, a cauliflower ear the next.
Jack’s beard had wandered across his chin and neck. His face looked overly long and unhealthily narrow. I had been slipping occasional bits of meat and turnip into his gruel. But it wasn’t nearly enough to stop the weight from wasting away from him. This was one of Pa’s sadistic ploys. The lighter a man was the longer he took to dance on the noose.
Sometimes Jack would get me so frustrated that I would retaliate by goading him. “You’re nothing but a liar and a cheat,” I’d taunt. “You deserve everything that’s coming to you. You’ll be doing the dead man’s jig because of all the lies you told.”
“People believe what they want to believe,” he’d say. “People once believed that I was a hero. Now they believe that I’m a villain. Tomorrow? Who knows?”
He’d look through the bars at me, dark rings under his eyes, a rattle in his chest when he breathed. “What do you believe about yourself, Henry?” he’d ask me.
And it would be Pa’s mocking voice that would answer inside my head - with put downs and cutting insults. Everything bad and spiteful and malicious he’d ever said about me would come crashing in. I’d turn away from the cell and Jack’s expectant glare to cover my own self-loathing.
“I am a giant killer,” Jack would say. “Because I believe I am. Not because of what anyone else believes.”
Once, in an effort to swing the conversation in the direction I wanted it to take I tried another tack and went back to the one of the questions I’d first asked him.
“What sort of weapons do giants use?” I asked.
“All sorts,” came his vague reply.
“Like what? Swords? Axes? Maces?”
“Fear is the favored weapon of a giant,” said Jack.
“If someone is frightened they are considerably weakened. If you are afraid, Henry - it can paralyze you. Fear leaves you at the mercy of the person who sets out to make you afraid.”
I thought about how frightened I always was when Pa came home from the Ale House. How my muscles seemed to stiffen and how I could never seem to move myself fast enough to escape his fists or his gnarled old stick.
“You have to find a way to rise above the fear that a giant instills in you,” Jack went on. “Take the old Duke. Wasn’t he was a giant of sorts? A big man who used to throw his weight around and bully and intimidate people? Fear of him kept everyone in his or her place. Then Tell Eulenspiegel showed the people how they could rise above such tyrants and bring them down. And suddenly the Duke didn’t seem so big any more. And when the people lost their fear of him…”
“Comrade Eulenspiegel became the giant amongst men,” I interjected.
“And that may well be his eventual downfall,” said Jack. “There are some who say that Comrade Eulenspiegel is already dead and that those who have risen him to the status of a giant have done so to corrupt his vision for their own personal ends. I would wager that if he is not yet dead there are surely plots aplenty to bring him down. For wherever there is a giant a giant killer is bound to come along at some point.”
“I hear you, you know,” said Pa.
I was on my knees polishing his boots while he sat by the fire.
I looked up.
“You hear me?”
A grotesque smirk spread on his ugly face. “Down in the cells with Jack the
My heart began to flutter chaotically. I could tell from Pa’s belligerent posture and the cantankerous tone of his voice where this would eventually lead. I bowed my head and applied more polish to the toe of the boot that I was holding.
Pa began to mimic my voice - making it sound high-pitched and feminine.
“Are there giants, Jack? Tell me the truth. Did you really slay the giants?”
Still seated he launched a kick at me. His heel made contact with my shoulder. At that angle it didn’t hurt too much - but it was enough to make me fall onto my side.
Pa snorted and laughed.
“Might there be a giant coming right now?” He cupped his hand to his ear. “Crushing houses under his feet?” His fat guts wobbled as he laughed at me. “Ripping up trees by their roots?”
I held my tongue as I pushed myself back up onto my knees and set about working the polish into his boot.
“Listen?” he said, leaning forward in his chair. “Here comes that big, bad giant!”
He rose up and loomed over me.
“Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum, Henry!” He threw his head back and let out a great belly laugh. “Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum! Better run and fetch Jack the Liar to save you!”
“Shut up!” I yelled, before I could swallow back the words that tumbled from my wayward mouth. “Just shut up and leave me alone!”
That was all he needed. A demonic grin crested on his face. He grabbed his stick from its place by the fire. I scrambled to the nearest corner and curled myself into a tight ball as he set about me.
I was sent down to Jack’s cell on the eve of his planned execution.
A condemned man is entitled to a hearty meal, even Pa conceded that much. So what I brought for Jack wasn’t the usual slop, but a feast of venison and roasted vegetables, accompanied by a flagon of frothy ale.
Approaching the cell I came to a sudden halt. Jack had committed a terrible act of vandalism. Scratched into crumbling plasterwork of the cell wall was a list of names. It ran in a long, vertical column from the ceiling down to the grimy floor. My hands trembled under the tray of food as I whispered the names over the fresh cut on my swollen lip.
I savored the mysterious shapes these exotic names made on my tongue - still tasting the tang of the blood that had dried on my teeth. “Pa’s going to beat you again when he sees what you’ve done,” I warned Jack, as I slid meal tray under the bars of the cell.
A strained smile formed on Jack’s dry, cracked lips.
“He won’t touch me now,” he said. “Not when it is so close to the big event. If he accidentally killed me and robbed the town of the spectacle of my execution there would be hell to pay.”
He was right. Pa wouldn’t be so stupid. Besides, sooner or later there would be another prisoner for Pa to beat on - and, in the meantime, he still had me to take it out on.
“Are those the names of the giants you brought down?” I asked Jack.
“Perhaps,” he replied, evasive to the last.
He picked up the tray of food and rested it on his lap, manacles clanking as he moved. “But there’s one name missing,” he said.
“There is?” I read down the list again. “A giant that has yet to be felled?”
Jack beckoned me toward the bars.
When I approached he whispered the name.
“Horst the Jailer.”
I stumbled back from the bars. What was he doing? Why would he say that?
In panic I turned and fled.
“Anything is possible, Henry,” Jack called after me. “Anything is possible!
“Damn you, Jack the liar,” I whispered. “Damn you and your lies! Let the rope stretch your neck and damn you straight to Hell!”
It was well past midnight. The house was in complete darkness. I had deliberately not bothered to cook Pa’s supper. I wanted him angry. I wanted him to think that I was still afraid of him. I held his vindictive stick in my hand, curling my fist around it so tightly that my knuckles turned white.
The words that Jack had spoken had slowly worn me down. They had wormed their way into my thoughts and made me truly believe that anything might be possible. I waited patiently for Pa to come home.
The wind came moaning down the chimney.
The blood endlessly crashed in my ears.
Cold sweat beetled down my spine.
The big clock in the hall ticked down the minutes.
I heard Pa come staggering drunkenly down the lane.
He was singing.
I swallowed down the hard lump that caught in my throat.
Another minute ticked slowly by.
I heard Pa stumble and urinate against the outside wall.
The nervous cramp in my stomach almost doubled me over.
The front door crashed open and Pa lurched into the hall.
“What’s going on?” he slurred. “Why is the house all in darkness? Strike a light, Henry. Where’s my supper?”
My ears started to whistle and sing from the galloping pressure of my blood.
Pa tripped over something and went crashing to the floor.
“Henry!” he roared. “Get here now or I’ll thrash the living daylights out of you.”
I raised Pa’s stick high above my head.
I heard Pa unbuckle his belt.
I heard him bring it down hard on the table.
I heard him whip it against the walls.
I heard cups and plates go crashing to the floor.
I heard Pa’s foot fall on the first step.
The step creaked and groaned.
I held my breath.
“I’m coming, Henry,” Pa warned.
He began to sing again.
The alcohol had made him lyrical.
“Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum!”he chanted. “I smell the blood of my worthless son!”
He came clumping up the stairs, thumping down his boot heels as thunderously as possible. “Be he awake or be he asleep,I’ll thrash his hide till he bawls and weeps.”
He began to laugh at his poetic ingenuity and cracked his belt loudly against the stair wall. I let out a stifled cry of terror. Pa looked up and saw me. His eyes popped wide when he realized just how smartly I had figured out how to rise above him. With a yell I brought down his hated stick with as much force as I could muster.
The stick splintered with a satisfying crack against his skull.
He stood there frozen for a moment, a look of surprise etched on his ugly face, as thick, hot blood trickled down from the wound. Then he fell backwards down the stairs, seeming to crumple and shrink as he went.
Not so big now, I thought.
“Go then,” I said to Jack when I had opened his cell and unlocked his chains. “I’m not stupid. I know that this was your plan all along. That’s why you kept putting wild notions into my head.”
Jack didn’t deny it. At that moment I think I hated him even more than I’d hated my Pa. I stepped to one side to let him pass. As he staggered out of the cell I looked at the list of names. Horst the Jailer had already been scratched into the plasterwork.
I closed my eyes and the image of Pa’s body lying twisted and broken at the bottom of the stairs, cold, dead eyes staring up at me, flooded my mind. I won’t grieve for him, I told myself. He got what he deserved.
I heard Jack speaking to me.
“Are you coming?” he asked.
I opened my eyes.
This wasn’t what I’d expected.
“You can’t stay here,” he said. “Not now. With me gone they won’t want their noose to go to waste. Someone is going to have to pay the price for bringing down Horst the Jailer.”
Nervously I touched my neck and imagined a rope around it. I’d murdered my father. He was the town jailer. Anything he had done was in the name of the Commissariat and the just cause of the common people. The Assembly would reach their decision within seconds and it would be my head that was delivered on a plate to mark the anniversary of the glorious revolution!
“Will there be giants to bring down?” I called after Jack as he took to the stairs.
“There might be,” he answered.
After the only briefest moment of hesitation I followed after him.
© David Turnbull 2012
David Turnbull's previous short fantasy fiction has been published in numerous small press magazines and anthologies, most recently Fangtales (Wyvern Publications), Rapunzel's Daughters (Pink Narcissus Press) and In The Garden of The Crow (Electric Milkbath Press). His middle grade fantasy adventure novel The Tale of Euan Redcap was released on the Pixiefoot Press imprint of Wyvern Publications on March 1st this year.